I don’t imagine my career path is any different from those young women who are working diligently in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). I always loved math, but as a kid, I never thought of playing around with computers at all. I was lucky that my school put a focus on exposing the larger student body, regardless of major, through the introductory programming class. When I was there more than half the student body took that class (it has grown to more than 90%!), and somewhat to my surprise, I both enjoyed and did well in it. So I went on to more advanced work and a job as an undergrad section leader in that same intro class.
Being recruited into a service provider as a software developer out of school seemed a great way to figure the entire working world thing out while doing something I was confident in. It led to opportunities in leadership, first as a mentor, and then running large projects for enterprise clients. After deciding to branch out from my role in application development, I made my way to Dell after business school and had a variety of roles across sales, marketing, product management, and corporate strategy. In 2012, after returning from a stint in Asia Pacific, I moved into Cloud and was able to build upon that entry in an emerging space with roles in product management, driving Cloud strategy early on, leading sales, and building out our portfolio of services — first at Dell, and later at NTT DATA Services.
Since then, I’ve seen the number of empowered women in business, making strides in all facets of the IT Services industry. For example, there has been a definite increase in openly discussing and addressing issues affecting women in the workplace, both on a localized team level as well as across the enterprise. As a result, women are able to be their more authentic selves at work.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day — Each For Equal — stresses how “The race is on for the gender-equal boardroom, a gender-equal government, gender-equal media coverage, gender-equal workplaces, gender-equal sports coverage, more gender equality in health and wealth.” At NTT DATA Services, I am happy to have been part of teams that, over the years, have developed women across the organization through hiring, development and mentoring. I am also particularly proud of representing NTT DATA and our Cloud business in the market. And I’m not alone. When I look around, I see more and more women stepping into roles that traditionally were staffed by men.
We’re on our way to achieving gender equality in our industry. But there’s still a large amount of work to do.
Large corporations in the United States, including NTT DATA, have come a long way in valuing work/life balance and recognizing the emergence of dual-career families. I give a lot of thanks to my husband’s employers for enabling us to pursue our goals jointly, and believe it is essential to recognize that men in our industry also have prioritized commitments at home. For other women that choose to take time off when starting a family, challenges re-entering the workforce remain a significant issue, leaving a huge pool of untapped resources available for companies that can figure out a way to target that opportunity.
In the future, I’d like to highlight how important it is to support women — and also men — to balance family and work lives. I will continue encouraging diversified leadership development and career growth across our industry. We all can recognize how family obligations, and the parallel tracks between career development and family, introduce challenges not found in a single-career model. We can easily address those challenges with alternative career development. Digital technologies supporting coordination and collaboration in distributed teams allow employers to support flexibility in work arrangements without sacrificing quality.
I’m excited about the future. As a member of a strong team that is proud to be diverse and dispersed, I see great things happening for all of us.
NTT DATA International Women’s Day 2020 Blog Series:
- Mary Edwards, President, Healthcare Provider Services — “Each for Equal” Is All About Leadership
- Srividya Ram, Vice President, Delivery Management — “Each for Equal” Is All About Technology Innovation
- Kerry Kreighbaum, Vice President, One NTT Strategy — "Each for Equal" is About Growth and Relationships
- Mona Charif, Chief Marketing Officer — "Each for Equal" Is About Not Waiting for the World to Change
Post Date: 3/5/2020